I’m 20-something years old and I’ve had an off and on mother instinct switch that becomes stronger or weaker according to who knows what. The last time that I felt that I-could-definitely-raise-some-cool-babies was when my boyfriend mentioned he babysat some neighbor’s kids when he was 16. Just the thought of him being sort of fatherly made me think of our brown-skinned/red-haired/half American–half Argentinean/non-conceived/imaginary babies. Then, when I had a pregnancy scare a month later, my thought was thanks, but no thanks.
The previous time I experienced this -urge- was when I was 20 and my desire for caring for another life was simply not met and fulfilled with something like a tamagotchi. Luckily I was *smart* enough to realize that babies raising babies was a horrible idea. Not tragic, just horrible. *Smart* enough to know that I just wasn’t ready to give up all whining in my life to care for someone else’s. That and food; I bet your every last dollar I would forget to feed the poor child or that I would be extremely reluctant to share my mini bagels. I was *smart* enough to know I was still a *dumb* 20 year old (this coming from a still dumb 20-something-closer-to-30\-year-old) and that no amount of screaming natural desire coming from my ovaries would change that.
I went to the nearest pet store and bought what the money in my wallet at the time could buy and what my bedroom could fit. I came home with a huge Tupperware (those meant for storage of things, not sandwiches) and a guinea pig: Roll. Mr. Roll, to be precise.
He was slim, with a black and white coat, and the attitude of a freshman of high school that has heard too many stories that scare him about his new life. He cornered himself and stood there for a few hours. He lifted his ridiculously cute nose at the smell of fresh lettuce and ate it loudly and with pleasure. Imagine the feeling of success when I had already sheltered and fed my first *child*.
I decided that the current location of my kid was just not good enough, so I expanded his quarters from the giant Tupperware and moved him to the floor underneath my desk. He seemed happier with a wider space in which to still corner himself and wait for the seniors to troll him. He didn’t need any limits and he would just stick to his allowed grounds.
He was very communicative with his needs. Use your words, Roll. He made a cute squeaking noise when he was hungry or bored that I was able to decipher courtesy of “What to expect when you’re GuineaPigging”1. When I was carrying him and walking around, Paris Hilton style, he would bite my shirt signaling his need to pee. He would fall asleep on my chest when the proper shelter was provided by a blanket in the form of a cave. You have not loved until you have seen a Guinea Pig Yawn.
Yet, even though I was providing a safe and loving environment for my *son*, I knew that there was something missing and very necessary to every person’s life: a sibling. I went ahead and adopted my second child, the complement to my first born and just what we needed: Rock. My life was complete with Rock and Roll (isn’t everyone else’s?).
Rock was chubbier and had an orange and black coat that split in four squares in his back and resembled a rugby shirt. He was hardcore, and if he had been human, he would have already been born a 30 year-old toothless rugby player, that also rocks the bass on the weekends.
Like all children, even though they were raised under the same rules, they were completely different. First night in, Rock was a horrible influence in my before well behaved Roll and they ran away together. Luckily, they were still hiding in my room and I could find them every time Roll succumbed to Rock’s peer pressure and indulged in a little Prison Break action.
Each of them took the roles that their personalities dictated and Rock was clearly an Alpha male, in charge of the squeaking for the things they needed; the decision to run away and come back for food; and the first pick among the treats: the red pepper is mine, bitch, I imagined him saying.
My parents might bed to differ with their we-want-grandchildren-already argument, but I think I made the best choice by not creating more humans just yet. My two *sons* fulfilled my motherly yearnings and it was not so heartbreakingly hard to part with them when the time came to have an empty nest. Also, no need to save for college.